Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
February 17, 2008
For most Catholics, Lent is a word that is simultaneously a positive and a negative. On the one hand we think of Lent as a time when we have to sacrifice, ( perceived negative), but on the other hand we think of Lent as a time of renewal and a time when we can deepen our relationship with God. If we could only bring the two powers together and learn to re-focus our energies, life would be perfect. Well, perhaps there is still hope for us in this area.
First we must make sure we are all on the same page. We must all realize that Lent is not simply a time of sacrifice for sacrifice sake, i.e. the giving up of coffee, candy, or whatever carries us through the daily grind. Lent is a time when we want to turn ourselves around. We want to turn away from our “failings” of the year and come back home to the God that loves us. This is usually easier said than done. Although our intentions are good, our habits are a strong deterrent. But, perhaps, all is not lost. Perhaps we can look at things from a different point of view and save this relationship we so desperately need with God.
Secondly we must come to terms with the fact that we live in the real world and this will not change. We are harried and stressed often bordering on the precipice of faltering. How often do we feel like shouting: “Stop the world, I want to get off.” Well, the world will not come to a screeching halt and we are not about to “get off” at least not in any simple way. We have families to support, our jobs to contend with, a culture that does not support a spiritual journey and many, O, so many, financial woes.
What is one to do? Perhaps it would be good if we could come to the conclusion that we must do something. Then, we must realize that the process will be a slow one. Slow is not bad for our journey. But where are we to start? We can begin with making choices that will slow us down. We do not have to quit our jobs or leave for the desert and forsake our families. We can, however choose a good book to read before going to bed in the evening. Reading for 15 or 20 minutes calms us down all the while serving as food for the soul. We must choose a book that will help to slow us down. There are many good books that are both interesting to read and also serve as food for the soul. Browsing the shelves of any good book store in the spiritual shelves will help you make a good decision.
If you are not interested in reading, you may want to think of something else that will slow you down. Perhaps taking a walk (on a nice day), especially in the woods or in a place that helps us see the beauty and grandeur of God. Although gas is a bit expensive, taking a leisurely ride through the back roads of our lovely towns can help us to calm us down and appreciate the gifts God has given us. Of course, prayer is never a bad idea. Taking a few minutes in the morning or in the evening to be alone with the God that loves us can work wonders for our stress level.
You may think that the above ideas are not your typical ways of “doing Lent” but if you think about it for a few minutes, is giving up that candy or coffee any better? If so, feel free to continue what works for you. The main thing is to come back to a place that is with God.
Lorette P. Nault